In the old capital, there is no shortage of attractions! To not miss anything and make the most of your visit, here are a top 10 attractions must-see in Quebec.
Having been designated “world heritage site” by UNESCO in 1985 in addition of being the last walled city north of Mexico, Quebec City will charm you. Whether you’re visiting the region for the first time, or visiting us occasionally or even are a resident of our beautiful city, it’s always nice to discover the jewels of the old capital. This blog post does not reinvent the wheel but offers a summary of key must-see attractions in Quebec City.
Old Quebec City
Surrounded by the famous fortifications, vestige of a past time that we hold proudly, Old Quebec is in first place on this list because it is truly a must. You must at least have a walk in Old Quebec once in your life. Blending past and present, the European charm is definitely present and whether you are a tourist or a resident, you will be seduced. One can do shopping through the many unique shops, take a carriage ride, fill your belly in one of the famous restaurants, laughing at street performers tricks, marvel at the talent of artists that performs before you, take a selfie in front of the Château Frontenac, the most photographed hotel in the world, and much more!
The Plains of Abraham
The history meets nature. The Plains of Abraham are also a must-see attraction in Quebec City since it is a mecca of history, while being one of the largest urban park in the world. It was there that took place the famous battle between Wolfe and Montcalm in 1759 and many commemorative and instructive plates can be consulted. Today, the Plains of Abraham is a popular place to practice a variety of outside activities such as walking, running, cycling, roller blade, cross country skiing, ice skating, etc. It is also a gathering place of various major events that are held annually like the prestigious Quebec City Summer Festival, the Quebec City Winter Carnival, the Festivities of the St-Jean Baptiste or Canada Day. History or military world fan? A detour at the Citadel and the Royal 22nd Regiment Museum right next to it is worthwhile!
From the top of Cap Diamant, on Dufferin Terrace, you can take the famous cable car and get into the most enchanting part of the city: the Quartier Petit-Champlain, and while admiring the St. Lawrence River and area during your way down. Arrived at the bottom, past time of New France is more present than anywhere else in the city with its pedestrian streets of ancient stone, distinctive architecture and a warm atmosphere in any season. Shopping and history are also honored. During your walk, be sure to head to the Place Royale, where the founder of the city, Samuel de Champlain, has founded his first house in 1608. It is also where we find the oldest stone church in North-America, Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church, which can be seen in many Hollywood films.
Place des Canotiers
Particularly in summer and fall, Place des Canotiers is definitely a good place to live. This place offers several relaxation areas, water jets to cool off in hot weather as well as several photogenic views of the Capital. There is also a large staircase that leads to a platform offering a breathtaking view of the public square, the river and Old Quebec. That’s wonderful!
Just 15 minutes drive from downtown Québec City, Montmorency Fall park is home to one of the highest waterfalls in Canada, 30 meters higher than Niagara Falls, with its 83 meters high. Several hiking trails from 0.5 km to 3 km are available. One can start the visit from below or from above as two parking spaces are available respectively. From the bottom, you can get splashed prior to the rise of the 487 steps of the panoramic staircase! Otherwise, it is also possible to take the cable car. If you’re not afraid of heights or would like to overcome your fear, a bridge takes you over the fall and offers a breathtaking view of the river, Ile D’Orleans, Quebec City and Côte-de-Beaupré. For the more adventurous, a via ferrata and zip line tours are offered.
Just across from the Montmorency Fall stand the red bridge that lead to the Orleans Island, pantries of the region of Quebec. This is the countryside 15 minutes from Quebec City! It looks like the time has stopped but a visit will convince you of the joy of life of residents. A gastronomic journey awaits you. Whether to buy or pick your own fruits or vegetables such as strawberries, apples, pears, pumpkins, raspberries, blueberries, etc., or to taste wine, cider, ice wine, blackcurrant liqueur or to enjoy some “food trucks” that operates there in the summer, the Orleans Island is definitely the heaven for epicureans.
Sanctuary of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré
The Sanctuary of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in North America and thousands of pilgrims stop there every year, especially in July during the Novena and St. Anne feast, grandmother mother of Jesus, civil and ecclesiastical patron saint of Quebec City. Masses in different languages are celebrated there to offer a religious tourism experience to the expectations of visitors. Believer or not, a stopover at the magnificent Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré is worth the trip.
Wendake is the ideal place to discover the First Nation traditions of the Huron-Wendat poeple in Quebec City. A stop at the traditional Huron site Onhoüa Chetek8e is great for history and culture enthusiasts. It reveals the habits and customs of the Huron people of yesterday and today through various activities, shows, guided tours and craft sales. The gastronomy is also honored at La Traite restaurant where local produce and game are showcased at its best!
Observatoire de la Capitale (Quebec’s Observatory Tower)
Having revamped its formula recently, the Observatoire de la Capitale is the best place to have an overview of the old capital. From its 221 meters high, its glass walls allow you to take great pictures at 360 degrees. An interactive tour will show you Quebec City in an original setting. Are you afraid of heights?
Discover St-Roch District (Nouvo St-Roch)
The Saint-Roch district is now one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Quebec. Offering events, boutiques, shops, great restaurants, cafes, unique bars, microbreweries and much more, St-Roch is a must. Rue St-Joseph is, you could say, the new Grande-Allée. From mid-May to the end of summer, rue Saint-Joseph is exclusively pedestrian on weekends. In addition to being a very trendy street, you will find small shops for the best local products. It is important to encourage local. Discover the Lower Town!
So, I hope you will take advantage of this top 10 must-see attractions in Quebec City post for planning your next visit in the old capital!